Paid Parental Leave Scheme, ABC Local Radio
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JOURNALIST: Jenny Macklin joins us now, Federal Minister for Families and Communities. Jenny Macklin, good morning to you.
JENNY MACKLIN: Good morning.
JOURNALIST: Jenny Macklin, the paid parental leave is through Parliament, now…
JENNY MACKLIN: Finally …
JOURNALIST: Finally. When will it start happening for people?
JENNY MACKLIN: It will start from 1 January next year, so finally, Australian parents have access to a national Government-funded paid parental leave scheme, at last we catch up with the rest of the developed world, so it is a very, very exciting time for families.
JOURNALIST: And it’s $570 a week?
JENNY MACKLIN: Yes.
JOURNALIST: For how long?
JENNY MACKLIN: For 18 weeks, for eligible parents who have children born, or if they’re adopting, from 1 January next year, so we wanted to make sure that this scheme is particularly available for all of those mums and dads, where parents want to share the leave, especially for those people like casual workers, the self-employed, contractors, seasonal workers, so many of whom have never had access to paid parental leave, so they’ll have some financial support to help them take time off to spend those critical early months with their babies.
JOURNALIST: A question for you from Meningie, Harry, good morning, Harry. Welcome to the program on Mornings, Harry. Nope? Harry from Meningie, according to the screen here, Jenny Macklin, what about stay at home mums? Are they effectively disadvantaged?
JENNY MACKLIN: No, we’ll continue to provide support to those mothers, or fathers, who want to stay at home with their babies. We do recognise that it’s very much a choice for parents, and we want to support parents whichever way they go, so we’ll continue to provide the baby bonus, and also Family Tax Benefit Part B, and parents will be able to choose whether to choose those payments, or paid parental leave.
JOURNALIST: Is this a second class scheme, compared to what Tony Abbott has promised, which he says he’ll fund through a business tax?
JENNY MACKLIN: Well you’d never know what Tony Abbott’s going to do, he of course is famous for saying that paid parental leave would happen over his dead body, then he said he wouldn’t raise taxes, now…
JOURNALIST: Is that like the Emissions Trading Scheme, it was a great moral challenge that we had to drop, and the promise for childcare, 200 childcare centres that you had to drop?
JENNY MACKLIN: Well you actually asked me about Tony Abbott, so..
JOURNALIST: But you’re talking about broken promises.
JENNY MACKLIN: Well, you asked me what he thinks about paid parental leave, so…
JOURNALIST: But you’re bagging him for promising one thing and not delivering, and…
JENNY MACKLIN: That’s correct, I am.
JOURNALIST: …you’re in Government, and you’ve promised a lot and haven’t delivered on many of those things.
JENNY MACKLIN: And we promised to pay a parental leave scheme, and we’re delivering it. And I see this morning that the leader of the National Party, Mr Truss, has come out saying that he has concerns about Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme, so it sounds like the National Party and the Liberal Party aren’t even on the same page.
JOURNALIST: Alright. Jenny Macklin, is there any – would it be locked at $570 a week, is it indexed, how will that work?
JENNY MACKLIN: It goes up with the national minimum wage…
JENNY MACKLIN: …so you’d be aware that it was recently increased, and that’s why we’ve also seen an increase to the payment that will be made for paid parental leave.
JOURNALIST: And it drops out at $150,000 a year?
JENNY MACKLIN: On the income of the primary carer, we do recognise that it’s important to make sure that particularly primary carers, generally it will be mum, who wants to take time off to recover from the birth, and spend time, in those critical early months with the baby, so…
JOURNALIST: So the Packers could get the maternity leave, for instance?
JENNY MACKLIN: It really depends on the income of the primary carer, and of course the important thing to remember is many, many more high income women already have paid parental leave paid by their employers, what we’ve wanted to do here is design a scheme that’s really going to help especially those low income workers that have never had paid parental leave.
JOURNALIST: Okay, but technically, James Packer, the Packer family, if Mrs Packer was a primary care giver, and wasn’t earning $150,000 a year, they could get this?
JENNY MACKLIN: I’m not going to go into any particular family, I don’t know their particular family circumstances, but the rules are as I’ve just described.
JOURNALIST: Jenny Macklin, thank you.
JENNY MACKLIN: Thank you.